resident Joe Biden speaks during a screening of the film “Flamin’ Hot” on the South Lawn of the White House on June 15, 2023. The president announced his reelection bid in April.

resident Joe Biden speaks during a screening of the film “Flamin’ Hot” on the South Lawn of the White House on June 15, 2023. The president announced his reelection bid in April. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Federal Employee Unions Endorse Biden for Reelection

Labor leaders described President Biden as “the most labor-friendly president in history.”

A pair of federal employee unions, including the largest in the country, on Friday announced that they are endorsing President Biden for reelection next year.

The American Federation of Government Employees and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association both announced their unions’ respective decisions Friday, in conjunction with their parent labor federation, the AFL-CIO, ahead of a union rally at which Biden is scheduled to appear Saturday in Philadelphia.

In a statement, AFGE National President Everett Kelley said the union conducted multiple polls of its membership, as well as a telephonic town hall with more than 20,000 members. Following those steps, AFGE’s national executive council voted unanimously to endorse Biden again.

“During his first term, President Biden has proven himself to be the most labor-friendly president in history,” Kelley said. “The results of our endorsement process show that he is the overwhelming choice of AFGE members. It’s not hard to see why.”

With some exceptions, Biden’s arrival in the White House was a breath of fresh air for unions and the federal workers they represent, following the tumultuous Trump administration. During his term, Trump at various points sought to freeze federal employees’ pay, cut their benefits and evict labor organizations from federal agencies, both literally and in the form of curtailing union officials’ access to official time and restricting the scope of what workforce policies over which they can bargain.

And in 2020, Trump signed an executive order aimed at stripping tens of thousands of federal employees in policy-related positions of virtually all of their civil service protections. That initiative, called Schedule F, ultimately went unimplemented before Biden took office, and he quickly rescinded it along with Trump’s other labor policies. Conversely, both Trump and his chief rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, have indicated they would revive Schedule F immediately after their inauguration if elected.

In addition, Biden instituted a new approach to collective bargaining at federal agencies, urging agencies to develop a more collaborative relationship with their labor counterparts and requiring management to negotiate over more topics. And the Office of Personnel Management updated its data platform, FedScope, so that union organizers could see which agencies had large cadres of federal workers who are eligible to join or form a union but had not yet done so.

NATCA President Rich Santa, whose union also voted unanimously in favor of endorsing Biden, touted Biden’s work to include $30 billion in upgrades to air traffic control facilities, including $5 billion at facilities owned by the Federal Aviation Administration. And, he noted, the FAA has included his union in the law’s implementation process.

“With an administration in the White House that is committed to labor, and the bipartisan relationships our activists have built in Congress, NATCA is making real improvements to the lives of every member of our union,” Santa said. “For these reasons, NATCA enthusiastically endorses President Biden and Vice President Harris for reelection in 2024.”